Penguin housewarming party

Penguin housewarming party Whipsnade Zoo

Goodnight Vienna and good morning Bedfordshire! Seven penguins have moved from Austria to a British zoo.

Keepers at Whipsnade Zoo have been welcoming seven rockhopper penguins to their new home in Bedfordshire, by throwing them a housewarming party.

The black and white birds were welcomed to their new digs by keepers who presented them with a picnic hamper full of fish.

Emily Merrick, a senior keeper, said:“They’ve all got different personalities. We’ve already noticed a pack leader, who is always the first into the water.

“Another is always first in line for fish, and another, who we’re calling Black Spot, always stays on the edge of the pool dipping his feet in but refusing to join the other penguins for a swim.

“Half term visitors should have fun watching them explore their new surroundings.”

The northern rockhopper penguins have joined the zoo from Vienna, Austria, as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.

Since their arrival at the beginning of January, the birds nicknamed the ‘magnificent seven’ have gradually started to explore their rocky home and pool on the side of the Dunstable Downs.

Miss Merrick said: “They’re all very young, in fact, some only hatched last year and aren’t showing their distinctive yellow crests yet.

“In a few years though, they’ll be ready to play their part in the breeding programme, which is great because there has been a very rapid decline in numbers of rockhopper penguins over the last 30 years.

“There are only a couple of other places in the UK where you can see northern rockhoppers, so it’s wonderful to have these seven little wonders of the world join us here at Whipsnade.”

Rockhopper penguins typically live for more than ten years.

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